With the national lockdown in place, many people and parents will be looking for at-home entertainment this February half term. Here are some of the best offerings recommended by VisitBristol, including a Wallace and Gromit augmented reality game, an online Lunar New Year Festival, Bristol Old Vic’s Swallows and Amazons and virtual art classes and exhibitions.

Virtual Events

This half term join Wallace & Gromit in a first-of-its kind augmented reality adventure called The Big Fix Up. The duo has a new business venture called ‘Spick & Spanners’ which has won a contract to clean and fix the whole of Bristol. Fans can sign up to the authentic and colourful augmented reality app to enter Wallace and Gromit’s world safely from their home and become part of their Spick & Spanners clean-up crew and solve a mystery while they’re at it too. Famous voices taking part include Jim Carter, Miriam Margolyes, Issy Suttie and Ben Whitehead. See this promo video for a taster of what’s in store.

Enjoy Chinese New Year activities with the Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
(Photo Adam Saunders)

To celebrate the Lunar New Year of the Ox, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery have collaborated with KALA CHNG to host an online festival that will run from 12 Feb-30 Jan 2022. Join in at home with activities including dance, music, craft, Chinese yoga, Chinese meditation and watch a panel discussion on being Asian and South East Asian in the UK.

For children and adults with an interest in Victorian and Georgian engineering, book a free place on the virtual tour of Bristol Harbourside’s Underfall Yard. The tour will give an overview of the historic floating harbour and you’ll get to see the yard’s ancient machines in action and how Bristol used to be powered in Victorian days. The tours take place on various dates throughout the year (20 February this half term) and places need to be booked in advance.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is coming to the Bristol Old Vic

Bristol Old Vic theatre have a variety of shows on offer that can be streamed as part of their At Home Season Pass. The pass (which costs £12.99) enables you to stream any five productions including family-friendly shows such as  Swallows and AmazonsA Christmas Carol and The Night that Autumn Turned to Winter, as well as their productions of The Grinning Man and Messiah (both suitable for those aged 12+). The pass lasts from the moment of each show’s release up until 28 February, or you can rent any one of the productions for 48 hours for £4.50. Bristol Old Vic also has Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar puppet show on demand from £14.50, available as a stand-alone performance until 28 February as a 3-day, 5-day or 7-day streaming pass.

Virtual art classes and exhibitions

Bristol is known for its creative and vibrant communities, so it is no surprise that there are several online art classes and exhibitions available to attend this half term. The Royal West of England Academy is hosting an online Junior Drawing School on 15, 17 and 18 February, aimed at children aged 7 years and over. The workshops (which must be booked in advance at a cost of £10 each) celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month and are themed on Fabric Fun, Mandalas, and The Art of Taking Away (negative space).  

To mark the half term and to help children explore their emotions during these uncertain times, Arnolfini and Bristol art duo Let’s Make Art are hosting a family-focused event called Hidden Self. The free event (available until 30 May 2021) teaches children to make a standing cardboard portrait of themselves, exploring emotions portrayed in their inward and outward personas. Arnolfini is also hosting remote exhibition walkthroughs of Jo Spence: From Fairy Tales to Phototherapy, Photography from the Hyman Collection and another exhibition from Rising Arts Agency film-maker Manoel Akure called A Picture of Health.

Jeff Johns – aka Big Jeff – is a well-known music lover who is often seen bouncing at the front of Bristol’s best live music shows. Now, he has launched an art exhibition called Big Jeff Johns – Welcome to My World, a collection of 34 of his paintings at Bristol Beacon (formerly known as Colston Hall), all reflecting his love of live music and his struggles living with anxiety. The exhibition has an accompanying website called Big Jeff Johns Art where you can see his paintings virtually and buy prints of his artwork, too.

Online activities

Get handmade chocolates from Bristol independent business The Chocolate Tart delivered to your door (nationwide) including tutored tasting kits with the option to arrange a Zoom with chief chocolatier Lisa, and kits to make your own truffles. A perfect lockdown pick-me-up family activity to enjoy at home.

Visit Bristol has curated a collection of activities to enable people to explore, enjoy and learn more about the city safely this half term during lockdown. Bristol From Home hub includes a series of brand new Google Earth Tours, where people can plan future visits and see what they will encounter when using the itineraries. New tours are being added all the time with some of the first features being a Harbourside walk, a run-down of some of the city’s best attractions and an Old City tour of ‘Dark Bristol’ history. The Bristol From Home hub also has games, bingo, quizzes, virtual tours of Bristol attractionscolouring-in sheets, lists of film and TV made in Bristolways to beat lockdown boredom at home and a whole cookbook of recipes from the city’s best restaurants and cafes to recreate at home.

Somerset Rural Life Museum is hosting an online talk on 18 February called Walking the Somerset Landscape with Martin Hesp, who will explore some of Somerset’s literary heroes including poets, pirates, philosophers and playwrights such as Terry Pratchett, John Cleese and John Locke. Tickets cost between £5 and £10, depending on what you can afford.